Canada's proud of its astronauts! Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is now on his third trip into space, and this time he's in charge of the International Space Station. In many ways, Canada's really like a small town (his home town of Sarnia, Ontario, barely qualifies as a small city) and Chris Hadfield's the local boy who made good.
When Hadfield was nine years old, he saw the Apollo 11 moon landing on TV. Right then and there, he decided he wanted to be an astronaut. He stuck a National Geographic poster of the Moon above his bed, and he never looked back.
After that, Hadfield decided to focus on everything that would get him up in airplanes, because that was the best way to become an astronaut in those days. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets during high school, and earned scholarships for both gliding and powered flight.
After graduating from high school, Chris Hadfield enlisted in the Canadian Air Force. He studied at Royal Roads Military College and the Royal Military College, where he earned an engineering degree. He also earned his military wings at CFB Portage La Prairie.
But basic flight training wasn't enough for Chris Hadfield. He knew what he had to do to become an astronaut. He graduated top of the class in jet flight. He learned to become a tactical fighter pilot. And after that, he went on to become a test pilot! If there was something challenging, Chris Hadfield had to learn it and become exceptional at it. He's even earned a master's degree in aviation systems!
Hadfield's a civilian pilot now. He officially retired from the Canadian military now, after twenty-five years of service.
But an astronaut has to be more than just a really hot pilot. He's got to get along with his co-workers. After all, he'll be dealing with his space team for long periods of time in really tight quarters. That takes something exceptional right there.
Every astronaut is also the face of the space program. He's got to be a natural with people. Hadfield's really good at communicating in person. He has talks from space all the time, a lot of them with school children who might one day become astronauts themselves.
Hadfield's also exceptional at using social media. That's really a first among astronauts, and Hadfield's hit the social media ball right out of the ballpark. He's even recorded a song in space. His Twitter account has over 600,000 followers! Not bad for the local boy from Canada.